A REIGN OF BEASTS WEBCOMIC EPISODE 06
Adaptation of Daniel 7:11-14
When you read the gospels, you may find yourself wondering why Jesus, someone introduced as “the Son of God”, would frequently refer to himself as “the Son of Man”. This is especially on display throughout Mark’s gospel (Mark 1:1 vs 2:10, 9:12, 10:45). This was the exact question I found myself asking years ago that led me here to Daniel 7.
The link all comes down to a passage from Mark that we used for an epigraph to A Reign of Beasts. Allow me to set the scene.
Jesus had been arrested and brought before the priests of Jerusalem to stand trial for his actions. With witnesses unable to form a cohesive incriminating narrative, the high priest confronts Jesus directly and asks him if he claims to be “the Christ”. To this, Jesus finally answers:
“I AM, AND YOU WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, AND COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY.”
It’s a mysterious and strange statement to make unless you know the reference he’s making. The priests certainly did. And it is this statement that pushes the trial to its conclusion and earns his death sentence.
As we saw in this portion of A Reign of Beasts above, in Daniel 7:13, bar 'ēneš (one like a son of Man) is carried up through the sky and brought before God (the Ancient of Days) and he is made king. As Jesus depicts it in Mark 14:62, the Son of Man takes his seat on a throne beside the Ancient of Days. He has been specifically identified as human, but he ultimately sits beside and equal with God.
This is why the “Son of Man” title is synonymous with Israel’s anticipation of the Christ, the Messiah. They await the very incarnation of God to come save them from imperial oppression. But Jesus didn’t fit into the template quite the way they imagined. So much so that they consider his claim to be blasphemy.
But Jesus claims that this is the moment when that scene in Daniel 7 is coming to fruition.
Looking only at this link between Daniel 7 and Mark’s account of Jesus’ trial gives some powerful implications to the meaning of his death and resurrection. In Daniel 7, it is alongside the defeat of the beasts that the Son of Man is carried through the clouds. It is in this same moment that all nations are unified and made to serve his everlasting kingdom.
Even as the priests reject him and the streets of Jerusalem shout for his crucifixion, the Son of Man is being crowned and his kingdom is being established. It is in the death and resurrection that God spreads his reign back into this broken world redeeming all peoples into a single whole. (John 10:16, Galatians 3:28)
Commentary by Jared Boggess
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Well-known for surviving a lion’s den, Daniel's apocalyptic visions recorded in the latter half of the Book of Daniel are often overlooked. A Reign of Beasts is our adaptation of chapter 7 – a nightmare of four vicious Titans waging war with all Creation where we are introduced to the prominent biblical figure known as the “Son of Man”.